Spotify: Apple’s new EU rules are “extortion” and a “complete and total farce”

“The old tax was rendered unacceptable under the DMA, so they created a new one masquerading as compliance with the law”

Spotify: Apple’s new EU rules are “extortion” and a “complete and total farce”

Music streaming service Spotify has labeled Apple’s new rules to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act a “complete and total farce” that “does not comply with the letter and the spirit of the law”.

The DMA’s aim is to identify 'gatekeepers' - large online platforms, and enforce a set of regulations that create what it calls a "fairer business environment" for all companies. In Apple's case, part of the requirements are that it must open up the App Store and iOS ecosystem to third-party marketplaces and payment options.

In response, Apple’s new business terms propose a cut of its revenue share to 17% - rising a further 3% if publishers use Apple Pay.

Meanwhile, it has added a €0.50 fee (which it has called a Core Technology Fee, echoing Unity's controversial Runtime Fee) for all downloads over a one million install threshold on an annual basis.

Should developers not wish to use alternative payments or marketplaces, they can stick with the existing terms. You can read all the details here.

"They don't think the rules apply to them"

Spotify has been campaigning nearly five years for changes to Apple’s App Store practices, and the company has now made a scathing attack on Apple's new rules.

“Apple has just shown the world, they don’t think the rules apply to them,” it stated.

“Apple is nothing if not consistent. While they have behaved badly for years, this takes the level of arrogance to an entirely new place.

"Under the false pretense of compliance and concessions, they put forward a new plan that is a complete and total farce. Essentially, the old tax was rendered unacceptable under the DMA, so they created a new one masquerading as compliance with the law.

“From the beginning, Apple has been clear that they didn’t like the idea of abiding by the DMA. So they’ve formulated an undesirable alternative to the status quo. This is why many of the most popular developers will never be able to choose it.

"And for the developers who feel like they have no other alternative, it’s a path that will punish their success.”

Spotify labelled the new €0.50 download fee “extortion”, claiming it believes developers would have to pay the fee even if users downloaded an app and never use it or never delete it.

“This will hurt developers, potential start-ups and those offering free apps most,” it said.

"Don't resist, just comply"

Taking to Twitter, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek called Apple’s new business terms a “masterclass in distortion”. He said Apple’s message was clear: “Disrupt their toll-booth operation, and they'll ensure you regret it. This isn't just about fees; it's a warning – don't resist, just comply.”

Ek concluded: “I think it’s important to say that Apple's design ethos and products have my admiration. But this is just hostile. It's not the Apple that once pushed the boundaries of technology and design.

"This is a company resting, not breaking any new ground, and turning its back on the principles that once made it the shining example of innovation. And it’s certainly not in compliance with the DMA. It’s a monopoly under a different mask.

“By inventing a new tax system to replace the old, Apple mocks the spirit of the law and the lawmakers who wrote it. I sincerely hope the EU recognises this for exactly what it is and stands firm, and doesn’t let their work over the years all be for nothing. The world is watching.”

Just days ago, Spotify had declared victory over Apple in its years long campaign against the company's App store practices. The streaming firm had expected to launch in-app purchase options for premium subscriptions and buying audiobooks, without Apple's 30% cut.

Apple's new business terms appear to have cut short those plans for now, however.

Head of Content

Craig Chapple is a freelance analyst, consultant and writer with specialist knowledge of the games industry. He has previously served as Senior Editor at, as well as holding roles at Sensor Tower, Nintendo and Develop.